There is this persistent notion that in our twenties we should be focused on finding out our life’s purpose and why we were put on this earth. Yet for some reason once we are well nestled into our thirties and haven’t found out what that passion is, the general consensus is that it’s now time to throw in the towel and become a responsible and rational adult.
I say don’t. Sure, it’s OK to have a job that you hate (to take care of paying bills and handling the bullshit life throws your way), but it is not OK to just give up on your dreams altogether.
Speaking from personal experience, I believe having a passion in something is what will fuel you through each and every day. It is the only thing that will get you through your darkest times. If you already know what your passion is in life, I say you must continue down that path and pursue it to no end.
On the other hand, if you are having trouble pinning down what your passion is then you must ask yourself the following two questions in order to lead you in right direction. The first question is:
1. What’s something you would do for free but can eventually monetize?
You have to find an activity or skill set that you have that you are willing to do for free. That’s where it begins. Passions truly stem from what you like to do on your free time and tend to start off as just another hobby. Growing and nurturing that hobby into a constant and consistent endeavor is how you turn it a passion. My passion, for example, is that I love being social. It sounds weird, but ever since I was a little kid I found myself attracted to the ideology of holding conversations with other individuals and studying the inner workings of social dynamics. In college I would major in political science with a minor in sociology because I wanted to have a foundational understanding in how society functions.
Now I know what you’re asking: If being social is my passion, how do I go about in making money from it? I’m glad you asked. This brings me to the second question in finding out what’s your passion.
2. What’s something you are great at that you feel would take a lifetime to master?
One of my favorite books of all time is Mastery, written by New York Times bestselling author Robert Greene. In the book, Robert speaks about how one goes about in pursing their passion (which he refers to as your Life’s Task) and getting to the point of becoming a master in that field. The biggest mistake people make when pursing their passion is thinking that they have to make money from their craft right away. Although money is definitely an incentive and good measuring tool on how great you are at what you do, you must always remember: Your job/career does not define you; your passion does.
Let’s take my case, for example. My passion is being social. Now I’ve learned that working as a bartender (and to a larger extent as a writer) are just two ways to express my passion. They are an extension of my ability to reach people on a social level that ultimately feeds my need as a human being. If you’re passion is let’s say cooking, but you work at a marketing firm, this does not mean you have to essentially become a cook for a living. What you can do is use marketing as a way to express your passion for cooking. What you do for a living does not dictate how you can make money from your passion. Focusing on one day becoming a master in the craft that you choose is what will dictate that effort. When I was younger I had no idea how I could one day monetize the idea of being a social butterfly. Yet over the years of searching and trying to find different ways of expressing my passion, has led me to art of bartending and writing, which are both fields in which I make money in today.
Robert Greene writes this in the first chapter of his book Mastery:
You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your Life’s Task—what you are meant to accomplish in the time that you have to live. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you toward activities and subjects that fit your natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity that was deep and primal. In the intervening years, the force tends to fade in and out as you listen more to parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear away at you. This can be the source of your unhappiness—your lack of connection to who you are and what makes you unique. The first move toward mastery is always inward—learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force.
I believe the reason behind wanting to eventually monetize your passion (or the gratification of earning revenue from what you love to do) is in direct correlation to reaching mastery. Take the time out to ask yourself what you would do for free and can one day monetize. And what’s something you are great at and one day can master? I guarantee the answer to those two questions will aid you in discovering your passion in life.
And now comes the easy part…pursing it with all your heart’s desire.